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FSFE: Solution for Oracle/Sun deal: Make MySQL independent

The Free Software Foundation Europe has a press release covering its thoughts on how to resolve the Oracle-Sun merger issues regarding MySQL. The European Commission is currently looking at the merger and the disposition of MySQL is seen as one of the biggest stumbling blocks to its approval. The press release refers to FSFE President Karsten Gerloff's lengthy blog posting, which lays out the case for making an independent organization for MySQL: "The dual-licensing approach, and the reliance on proprietary licenses as a source of revenue, has severely hampered the growth of what could have turned by now into a much bigger ecosystem. The strategy has led to a huge gap between the original developer (MySQL as a company) and second-tier firms providing support and development services. It also forced developers who wanted to contribute to MySQL to sign unequal copyright agreements. Some did, some didn't. As a consequence, MySQL's development community is not as strong as it could be."
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FSFE: Solution for Oracle/Sun deal: Make MySQL independent

Posted Oct 23, 2009 16:50 UTC (Fri) by AlexHudson (guest, #41828) [Link]

Interesting difference in point of view between RMS and FSFE.

I think the "go independent" option is pretty difficult though: that would require Sun/Oracle to write off somehow what was a $1B purchase. Difficult to see a VC firm pony something like that up, let alone independent investors.

FSFE: Solution for Oracle/Sun deal: Make MySQL independent

Posted Oct 23, 2009 17:35 UTC (Fri) by jordanb (guest, #45668) [Link]

It's called a 'goodwill adjustment'.

If things go on much longer, Oracle's going to have to 'goodwill adjust' the cost of the entire deal. ;)

FSFE: Solution for Oracle/Sun deal: Make MySQL independent

Posted Oct 25, 2009 11:08 UTC (Sun) by AlexHudson (guest, #41828) [Link]

I'm not sure it is a goodwill adjustment, actually. Goodwill is about paying more or valuing higher something; if they're spinning it off they have to go the other way - they have to write it down from its actual value.

With a total transaction of just over $7B or something, $1B represents a significant amount of write-down. It depends how MySQL is currently represented on Sun's books, but they only bought them in 2008 - difficult to see how they can write that down to something plausible.

FSFE: Solution for Oracle/Sun deal: Make MySQL independent

Posted Oct 23, 2009 20:13 UTC (Fri) by trasz (guest, #45786) [Link]

So basically, RMS finally figured out what's wrong with GPL, and why some people choose permissive licenses instead?

FSFE: Solution for Oracle/Sun deal: Make MySQL independent

Posted Oct 23, 2009 21:29 UTC (Fri) by ballombe (subscriber, #9523) [Link]

Not at all. RMS complaint is that MySQL is licensed under 'GPL v2 only' and not 'GPL v2 or any later version'. Nothing unusual from RMS since the release of the GPL v3

FSFE: Solution for Oracle/Sun deal: Make MySQL independent

Posted Oct 24, 2009 11:13 UTC (Sat) by nix (subscriber, #2304) [Link]

Ignore the troll. RMS has of course encouraged the use of permissive
licenses for some uses basically forever, but trasz doesn't want to pay
attention to annoying facts like this which get in the way of his
RMS-is-evil GPL-is-evil crusade.

FSFE: Solution for Oracle/Sun deal: Make MySQL independent

Posted Oct 26, 2009 1:01 UTC (Mon) by sbergman27 (guest, #10767) [Link]

> RMS has of course encouraged the use of permissive licenses for some uses basically forever,

Well... grudgingly, when he has no other practical choice. RMS views licenses as weapons. GPLv3 is currently his favorite weapon.

But sometimes he deems that an assassin's blade will work where a bazooka might draw too much attention before the kill.

I'm a GPLv2 sorta guy, who happens to respect those who choose more permissive licensing, and who is uncertain that GPLv3 was that great an idea. But your saying that RMS has encouraged the use of permissive licenses calls for a bit of clarification.

FSFE: Solution for Oracle/Sun deal: Make MySQL independent

Posted Oct 26, 2009 9:40 UTC (Mon) by rahulsundaram (subscriber, #21946) [Link]

RMS has encouraged permissive licenses in a number of cases where the use of reciprocal licenses does not add benefit or even creates a disadvantage. RMS endorsed the switch of libogg to a permissive license since adoption of Ogg Theora and Vorbis by even proprietary software is a benefit. There are several such occasions.


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